Words by Alpenglow Expeditions guide Topo Mena
As a climber, it is very motiving to meet people who are always dreaming big, people who never stop the pursuit for something that will take them to see new horizons in their lives.
This time, our client M. Basrai came to Ecuador to learn from ground zero all that is neccessary to pursue his new goal in life: to climb the highest mountains in the world. And what a better place to start than the middle of the world? With some of the most accessible high altitude peaks on the planet Ecuador is the ideal training ground. With three clear goals in mind we began: to learn all about climbing and living in the mountains, to acclimatize for Aconcagua (saving many days on that trip), and of course: to have fun, we started the trip on Dec 23rd.
Before getting to the field we did some gear shopping on the 24th and visited the colonial centre of Quito. On the 25th we hiked to our first summit: Rucu Pichincha. What a way to celebrate Christmas!!! Thanks to Basrai’s previous traininig on hypoxic tents we managed to summit in 3 hours from the top of the cable car. That day, Basrai learned one of the most important lessons for climbing big mountains: acclimatizing is always a humbling excercise! No matter how strong we feel, it will always be hard… for everybody.
The next day we moved to Cayambe, drove up to the hut and hiked to 5000m. One of the nicest parts of this trip was to know that every step Basrai did was a new personal record. I was so pleased to be part of that. At the end of the day we were back at low altitudes, in the town of Otavalo, having great food and enjoying nice views of the valley.
On the 27th we moved to Cayambe’s hut for the next two nights. The first day was spent on the glacier at 5100m practicing using crampons, ice axes and ropes. The second day we took a much needed rest day at the hut talking about the mental aspect of climbing and all the motivation that is needed to put one foot in front of the other when you’re reaching your limits.
That day, Jaime Avila (Alpenglow’s senior guide) came to the hut to join us for the climb. His duty was to help Basrai carry all he needed for the climb. So with one guide and one deluxe high altitude porter our client made it to the summit of his first big mountain. The climb was as we expected: cold and beautiful. After an 8 hour ascent we got to see some amazing views of the Andes.
Two days after those great moments we spent together, Basrai was already on a plane headed to Mendoza for his next objective on Aconcagua and I was clipping bolts at 4000 meters near Chimborazo.
Happy new year everybody!!!